Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the world's third largest after the mosques in Makkah and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
The mosque is named after the founder and first President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan who influenced the design and meaning behind the mosque. Sheikh Zayed wanted the mosque to be built 11 metres above sea level and 9.5 metres above street level so it can be clearly visible no matter what direction worshippers are travelling from.
Located in the heart of Abu Dhabi, it is also the burial place of its founder Sheikh Zayed who died in 2004.
Construction of the mosque began in 1996 and cost $545 million. It took 38 contracting companies and around 3,500 workers to bring the stunning architecture to life in an effort spanning 12 years.
The mosque was finally ready to open its doors in 2007.
Figures that have not been beaten
- The complex covers an area of 22,412 square metres
- 33,000 tonnes of steel and 250,000 square metres of concrete were used in its construction
- The courtyard has a total of 1,048 columns
- 82 domes decorate the mosque
- The main dome is the largest mosque dome in the world measuring 85 metres in height and a width of 32.8 metres
- The mosque can hold up to 41,000 worshippers at a single time with 7,126 in the main prayer hall
An architectural wonder
The mosque was built as an architectural wonder that incorporated both modern and classic Islamic artistic styles. Its beautiful white exterior is all thanks to its finishing of Greek and Italian white marble which is considered to be among the purest in the world; a nod no doubt to the purity projected to its standing as a place of worship.
The calligraphic designs of the interior of the mosque are the work of global artists who were closely supervised by calligraphers from the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Jordan. The calligraphic designs that cover the surfaces of the mosque contain verses from the Quran and are written in three types of Arabic calligraphy, all beautifully woven into masterful designs.
Measuring 17,000 square metres, the courtyard is covered entirely by mosaics providing an open space that boasts the largest worldwide.
The mosque is illuminated by seven gold-plated crystal Swarovski chandeliers which have one of the largest lustres in the world.
A royal rug
The carpet that details the mosque's floor is the largest in the world, measuring over 5,625 square metres. Designed using 35 tonnes of wool and 12 tonnes of cotton by 1,300 Iranian craftsmen, the carpet is worth around a whopping $8 million.
The colour green dominates the 25 natural colours that decorate the carpet and was selected because it was the favourite colour of the late Sheikh Zayed. For the worshippers, horizontal lines align positions of prayer which are designed so that they are not visible from a distance.
The building is a must see for anyone, the building will leave visitors in awe of its greatness, but also relaxed by its serenity.